Experiences with High Circle groups?

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Gruber
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 6:45 am

Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Gruber » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:12 am

Heyho everyone,

has anyone already experience with a high circle adepts group? My group is on the brink to circle 11 and i'm not sure, what kind of challenge i can possibly offer them. They shred pretty much anything, not fast enough to flee them. But combat alone isn't my only problem:

High Circle contents?
- i dont know of any official / non-official adventures designed for Warden+ adepts
- the wizard and nethermancer keep complaining, that there are no new spells for them (circle 9+ still missing)

Really tiresome combat
- the more we advance in circles, the more tiresome and (stupidly) complex combat gets
- every player now has a manifold combat options
- the GM should use complex mechanics too, but that just makes it even more gruesome

(as mentioned above) the group could already kill a great dragon without problems
- i dont know, what to throw at them, without adding a bunch of minions every thing (boring and painfully tiresome)

Well, has anyone encountered some of our problems, too? If so, how did you counter them?


Thanks and best regards,
Gruber

Sharkforce
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Sharkforce » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:56 am

so, you're gonna be waiting a long while to get the high level spells if you want something official from 4th edition, unfortunately.

you could go through previous editions and consider converting over some of the higher circle spells yourself, of course.

as to adventures, i'm not super familiar with published earthdawn adventures myself, but a quick search of the store on this site suggests that a similar solution could be found as for the spells; find something from an earlier edition and convert it. for example, https://fasagames.com/catalog/index.php ... cts_id=534 has adventures going up to warden tier.

i'm sure there are plenty of others as well, but as i haven't played any of them, i have no idea which i would recommend for someone in your situation... for example, i would imagine that an adventure with a ton of adepts in it would be much harder to convert over than, say, an adventure featuring mostly creatures that have been converted to 4th edition already where you'd just need to use the stats from your current books instead of whatever the adventure says to use, and i have no idea which adventures might use adepts as opposed to creatures more often.

Panda
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:30 am

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Panda » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:21 pm

Greetings,

It's important to note none of the published creatures are intended as "solo" encounters. If it's a group against one opponent, that one opponent probably isn't going to do well unless it's so far above them they cannot hit. Great dragons haven't been published at this time, with only "normal" dragon examples in the GM's Guide. Given they were published before the high Circle material finished development, it may be more inconsistent than the later releases, though they are not balanced as a group encounter. A mask to correct that and properly upscale an opponent into a "boss" style encounter is in the works.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 956
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:38 pm

I do _not_ have experience with high-circle play. Critical Role last season had some good examples of high level play, though. Legendary Actions and Lair Actions seemed to go a long way towards leveling the field between players and GM without adding too much complexity. Kind of a video game mechanic, actually.

Lursi
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:09 pm
Location: Münster

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Lursi » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:42 pm

The highest circle my old group has reached was actually 11.
Despite the high circle, it was still difficult for them to uncover a murderer. And just because you can kill potentially every namegiver around you, it brings extra responsibility.

Go find the Earthdawn, go to the Netherworlds, steal a soul from death... especially Earthdawn offers a lot for high level characters. Maybe have a horror haunting their families and friends to torture them. One that avoids open confrontation.

Despite the high circle, poison, illness, nature hazards or just a sinking ship is a whole lot of trouble.

I find a lot of the named Horrors pretty daunting. Circle 11 gives you a chance but if you play a Horror as a clever enemy it will first lure you in a trap -excursion into a wreck under water- and then you will face Ubyr... with much impaired fighting skills and your gills spell suddenly fading...

If nothing helps, a corrupted high level beastmaster and his zoo is a reliable source of headache for a group.

At this level it is often a problem for GM to allow for the death of a player. You should not have remorse to search and go for the kill. Just be fair and decide before the adventure what the Encounter strength will be and give them a chance to scout ahead what they are up against.
Always hit the weakest, kill the mage first and keep the warriors busy with minions.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 956
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:24 pm

Yeah, at that level their opposition will have researched them and their strengths and weaknesses pretty well.

Michael
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:33 am

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Michael » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:45 am

not sure if this helps but the way I look at it is to vex the chars with things that they can't simply can't punch in the face. Lex Luthor is always a pain in Superman's ass because supes follows the rules.

1: Put them in a large city where, although they could easily fight their way out, would spread the wrong kind of legend all across the land
2: All a horror needs to mark a char is line of sight and a successfully roll against a MD. Which I might add, most time unless it's active combat, might be a bit lower. Mark one of the chars and have him wake up in an inn room with a bunch of dead bodies that it's clear he/she's the one that killed them. Dread Iota would be good for this, GM book p490
3: The queen/kind/leader of a large city needs a diplomatic reps to some far off land (like north to the elven kingdoms.

If you are looking for combat strictly? In the older Editions it almost always came down to fighting over adepts. In the game I run, the group has interfered or destroyed the plans of several groups who have lots of silver, and information about the group. Professional adept killers who have researched and prepared for the party could be a challenge. One high circle skyraider with a high battle bellow and tiger spring starts by softening the group. A high circle swordsmaster all defensive taunting and distracting is another. Surprise strike now works on blindside and distract.

Recently, one of my players (Slim Creeper) had a great idea of making Cadaver men clones. The short answer was when one raged, they all raged. Even at 11 circle, a large group of augmented CM who are getting 4 attacks/rd who just keep getting bonuses to hit/damage should give them pause while the controlling spellcasters blast away at the group. Don't forget to have them use aggressive attack each round

Throw any normal type critter they have encountered before but give it wierd or unusual powers. Hell Hounds whose fire breath also includes a dispel magic to suppress random talents for example

Windling archers can ruin a group's day, any day. Check out the ranges on windling bows, add mystic aim and flame arrow from 48 yards straight up will get their attention.

hope that helps

Slimcreeper
Posts: 956
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:34 pm

Micheal, was it a ‘great’ idea? <snortlaugh>

Michael
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:33 am

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Michael » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:48 pm

honestly, it was great! I'm regretting that I ended that storyline the clones were involved with

Here's the thread on the clones for those interested
http://fasagames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1472

Lursi
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:09 pm
Location: Münster

Re: Experiences with High Circle groups?

Post by Lursi » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:36 pm

Avoiding the tiresome combat.

Maybe a few combat rounds are enough to bring everyone past a beast that guards an entrance where it does not fit it.

Maybe the characters need to free a hostage, so they do not want to get caught up in lengthy combat.

Maybe there is a tactical level of combat higher than 1-on-1. What happens to a unit of soldiers when a famous adept leads it?

Race against time. X rounds a horror is distracted, rush into a structure accomplish something and run away in time.

Infected!
The group is suffering from a grave, spreading disease. They are shunned and slowly loosing health. Gates are shut in front of them and it would bring disaster to a community if they entered.

Can they reach their closest friends for help? Do they have any? (Heros hiring other heros, too meta??)
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

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